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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In 2009, health care expenditures in the United States totalled $2.5 trillion – $8,086 for every person, and 17.6 per cent of the US gross domestic product. Payment to hospitals amounted to $759 billion and represented the single largest expenditure in the health care system, outpacing number two – physician and clinical services – by more than $250 billion. Hospital payments alone account for over 5 per cent of the US gross domestic product. This article provides an overview of the issues and processes necessary for understanding pricing in the US health care system in general, and hospital pricing in particular. It discusses the health care environment and the role of hospitals, the flow of payment for rendered services, the motivations of the parties involved, what hospitals sell and how they sell it, and pricing and quantitative analytics.

Keywords: health care, United States, hospital pricing, payment flow

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